The Drift to Paranoia


I had a conversation with someone a few weeks ago which went something like this: this person said that false rape accusations are commonly used to entrap men in a “guilty until proven innocent” type of framework. I asked how many of these false accusations occur each year. This person said they didn’t know, but “probably a lot”. Again, what’s the number? A ballpark estimate is fine. “It probably happens all the time”. I noticed something weird going on here; the passion with which they spoke about how men are now expected to be “more responsible than women” lead me to think that he is probably paranoid about something far beyond his control. This person thinks it’s okay to be angry about false rape accusations and how it’s not alright that men must now be more responsible than women when it comes to sexual intercourse (especially when alcohol is involved), while providing not one shred of supporting evidence.

This is the problem with layman political discussion: it’s wrong to outline a theory (in this case, that false rape accusations occur frequently, and that they destroy the lives of the accused), provide no empirical evidence supporting the claim (how often are rapes falsely reported?), and then fall back on your paranoia as though it’s just as good as hard facts.

In the physical sciences like chemistry or physics, if a theory disagrees with the experiment, it’s wrong. Full stop. Undereducated discussions of politics often take the ‘soft’ sciences like sociology or economics and claim their facts & figures are just another “opinion”, of no greater validity than their own. This is plainly wrong. Science is not opinion, nor is it made to serve anyone’s interests. God is no longer our explanatory mechanism of the world; science is. In cases of Right & Wrong, it seems the highest truth yet attainable is that gleaned to us through scientific inquiry. You do not have the ethical right to teach things you know to be false, just as it seems equally wrong to state a claim, provide no documented evidence, and claim it’s true anyway because you have a “feeling”.

This person took the Steubenville rape case, and its press coverage, as proof of men’s vulnerability in the information age. Men are apparently at the whim of this media conglomerate which is meant only to shame the accused, not provide any sort of “truth”.

In social science parlance, this person took the minor case and made it the major case. Hence why I asked just how many men are falsely accused of rape each year. This person felt that although they didn’t have an exact figure, Steubenville shows that it can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Oh how tragic it is that some young men couldn’t control themselves in the presence of a naked woman. Society pushed them to rape her. It’s society’s fault that women are turned into sex objects. Young men are just at the whim of advertisements of women in bikinis.


I am not naturally a rapist.

What I am is someone who believes paranoia and zealotry are not good reasons to believe something. Bring me facts. Show me figures. But don’t hide behind your insecurities and say they’re just as good.

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Current Legislative Intern with New York StateWatch; Full-time political science/philosophy student at SUNY Albany; Dunkin Donuts Coffee Jerk on weekends; future activist with Grassroots Campaigns. Let's kick back and see what comes of this blogamajig.

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